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Rushmore

March 28, 2011

Rushmore (1998)
Director: Wes Anderson
Actors: Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, Olivia Williams

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Synopsis: Student sociopath (Jason Schwartzman) is drawn into a battle for the affections of his favourite teacher (Olivia Williams) by an eccentric industry magnate (Bill Murray).

Review: This is simply classic, exquisite Wes Anderson fare – building on the sweetness and whimsy of his debut feature Bottle Rocket and channeling it into something more like his expansive later films. If anything, Rushmore is the richest and most delectable work by Anderson – it’s a film teeming with a feverish wit, and something tells me in an indirect way, the spirit of Anderson is captured in Jason Schwartzman’s central character Max Fischer – introduced to us as a student sociopath par excellence in a brilliant early sequence where his numerous and bizarre extra-curricular hobbies are itemised. As ever with Anderson, the genius is in the detail, and some of the most pleasing moments of Rushmore are the most incidental and irreverent – from the ghastly portrait that outs the awful family life of Bill Murray’s industrial magnate with his two obnoxious twin boys, to the hilarious plays that Max puts on.

The trick with Anderson is that he works from the outside in – creating seemingly mannered and precious little worlds, but out of these traits come portraits of characters and social units that are remarkably acute and poignant. Rushmore masquerades a real warmth, and it’s strangely compelling (and kind of perversely convincing) to see how this highly egocentric young student can have all the other characters spinning round his orb by the sheer will of his personality alone, at the end. (March 2011)

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